being a mom

Let’s All Be Non-Judgmental Moms With Maggie Gyllenhaal!

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It’s sort of easy to be a judgmental mom. We have all been there, snarking in our heads about other moms, their parenting styles, how they look, how their kids behave, how they react in certain situations. I’m as guilty of this as any other mother. One of the things parenting has taught me is that we are all fighting our own battles. No mom is going to parent exactly like another. I’ve been trying to work on the inner dialogue I hear running through my head when I see a mom behaving in a way that I don’t exactly agree with. has a great interview with actress Maggie Gyllenhaal where they asked her about how being a mom changed the way she sees other parents, and how she used to be a judgmental mom.

 I used to be judgmental of the way other people would parent. I would look at someone talking on a cell phone while her baby was asleep in a stroller and think, “How can that mother have her cell phone out?” Then you actually have a baby and you’re like, she’s sleeping; I have 10 minutes; I’ll make three phone calls. I think so much of my judgment — not only about how people parent, but about people in general — went away when I became a mom.

I can relate to this so much, and  I feel this is one of the universal “truths” of motherhood, that having kids makes you see people and the world in a much kinder light. Think about the last time you were in a crowded grocery store and you saw a frantic mother trying to calm down a shrieking toddler in the checkout line. If you have kids of your own, I’m sure you were able to muster sympathy for both the mom and kid, reserving your judgmental mom thoughts to the jerk scowling behind them. You may have even attempted to engage the child in conversation, or shot the mom a sympathetic look as you dealt with your own shopping cart. When you were childless and focused on whatever you were focused on before kids, you were probably annoyed and thought to yourself about how you would handle that situation. After kids when you are in the same situation, you are able to better understand what a tantrum over not being allowed a pack of gum is like.

I’ve been guilty of being a judgmental judgey mcjudgerson mom before. When I see a kid in a midriff top, or when I see a mom feeding her kid junk food for breakfast, I have to catch myself for thinking bad thoughts about the parent because truthfully, it’s not my business. It’s not my business and most moms are doing the best they can, with their own ideals and morals and vision of what they want their own kids to become as little humans. I have my own humans to deal with. Maybe I feel like things could be better done my way, but unless a parent is abusing or neglecting a child, it’s not my place to force my opinions on another mom because I don’t like the fact she lets her kid stay up until 11 on a school night.

I don’t think most parents are that different from one another. We all want our kids to grow up happy, healthy and able to navigate their way through this great big world with a sense of kindness and empathy towards other people. As moms and parents I think on occasion we lose some of that empathy in view of our own superior parenting skills. I’m going to try harder to not be so judgmental towards other moms, like Maggie Gyllenhaal does. And possibly even get my hair cut like her’s.

(Photo: C.Smith/